Sofie Darling comes to us today with some facts about Paris and The Medici Fountain.
Following the assassination of her husband Louis XIII of France in 1610, Marie de’ Medici removed herself and her son, the new king of France, from the intrigues of the French court to a safe place where she could rule as Regent. She so longed for her childhood home, Florence’s Palazzo Pitti, that she had a replica palace and gardens built on the outskirts of Paris in what is now the Luxembourg Gardens.
Within her “Italian” garden, she commissioned what is now called La fontaine Medicis, or the Medici Fountain. The fountain was constructed in the popular Italianate style of towering columns and lounging gods that still dominated European architectural style.
The times, however, were changing. Marie de’ Medici’s son, Louis XIV, had a radically different aesthetic from his mother’s. As the gilt and marble style that came to typify King Louis’s reign took shape, the Medici Fountain fell into disfavor and disrepair.
It wasn’t until the turn of the 19th century that a return to a more natural aesthetic came into fashion. Napoleon took an interest in restoring the fountain even beyond its former glory, adding a marble statue of Venus in her bath, a return to the fountain’s Italianate roots.
When its simple spout and basin were replaced in the mid-19th century with a grand, fifty meter long pool, lined with stone vases and plane trees to either side, the Medici Fountain attained the form we see today.
The story of the Medici Fountain illustrates the importance of research to the historical writer. If I’d simply written the fountain in my novel as I’d seen it a few years ago during a visit to Paris, I’d have written it wrongly. Instead, a little research gave me insight into not only its rich history, but also the way the Medici Fountain reflected the changing times and politics around it, which proved to be useful in creating the world of Three Lessons in Seduction.
About the Book
Three Lessons in Seduction
Paris, September 1824
Lord Nicholas Asquith needs his wife. Too bad he broke her heart ten years ago. Can he resist a second chance at the love he lost?
When Mariana catches the eye of the man at the center of an assassination plot, Nick puts aside their painful past and enlists her to obtain information by any means necessary, even if it means seducing the enemy agent.
Even if the thought makes his blood boil.
Only by keeping his distance from Mariana these last ten years was he able to pretend indifference to her. With every moment spent with her, he feels his tightly held control slipping . . .
Can she trust the spy who broke her heart?
Mariana spent the last decade forgetting Nick. Now she has the chance to best him at his own game, an opportunity she can’t resist, even as her view of him begins to shift. Increasingly, she wants nothing more than to seduce her own husband . . .
It’s only a matter of time before mad passion ignites, a passion never convincingly extinguished. A passion that insists on surrendering to the yearning of the flesh and, quite possibly, of the heart.
“Do you not understand how difficult it is to find a lady’s maid who speaks English in Paris? She is as rare as a Woolly Mammoth in London.”
“A Woolly Mammoth in London?” he asked with a confounded laugh.
“Given my involvement with The Progressive School for Young Ladies and the Education of Their Minds, I spend a good deal of time perusing London’s museums.”
Nick cocked his head. “I would have thought finding you in a stuffy museum would be as rare as finding a Woolly Mammoth in London.”
“I enjoy it.” She sounded defensive. Drat. “And I happen to know that the Museum of Natural History in Paris has its very own Woolly Mammoth.”
In fact, she was disappointed to have missed it on this trip. But Nick needn’t know that. She’d revealed too much about her life already.
“That’s,” he began, a reflective note in his voice, “new.”
“Actually, they acquired it more than one hundred years ago.”
“I wasn’t speaking of the mammoth.”
Mariana’s traitorous insides went light at his words and at the implication within them. The moment could grow soft, and a sense of ease could steal in, if she allowed it. It was an ease she’d felt the first time they’d locked eyes at a dinner party at Uncle Bertie’s country estate—so very long ago. She’d felt they were two halves of the same whole and had been waiting all their lives to be joined together.
She gave herself a mental shake. Such memories were a trap.
Over the last decade, she’d done quite well forgetting what she liked about her husband. She wouldn’t allow softness to shake her resolve.
This was Nick. He was as soft as a razorblade.
About the Author
Sofie spent much of her twenties raising two boys and reading every book she could get her hands on. Once she realized that she was no longer satisfied with simply reading the books she loved, that she must write them, too, she decided to finish her degree and embark on a writing career. Mr. Darling and the boys gave her their wholehearted blessing.
When she’s not writing heroes who make her swoon, she runs a marathon in a different state every year, visits crumbling medieval castles whenever she gets a chance, and enjoys a slightly codependent relationship with her beagle, Bosco